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Ellen
Ellen, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
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In New York, does your divorce attorney have a statutory lien

Resolved Question:

In New York, does your divorce attorney have a statutory lien against your assets listed in your divorce settlement as soon as that judgment is written or does a lien have to be filed in court? I have filed for ch 7 and they say it should not be allowed as they have a statutory lien, but they did not file in court until after I filed for bankruptcy?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  Ellen replied 7 years ago.
Hello,

The new bankruptcy code Section 523 (a) (15) obligations from a divorce to pay support or property settlements are not dischargable. This would include your ex's attorney fees if the court ordered you to pay them. It would not include your own attorney fees. You can read the statute here.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Sorry, don't understand. My divorce was in NY. My attorney's fees were well over $100,000.00. I lost the case and got only a ltd. alimony and 30,000 in future stocks from my ex's co. with no definite time for payment. I am appealing. My attorney says he has a right to that 30,000 for his fees, and put a lien on it in court, after I filed for bankruptcy. Now he says I can not include it in bankruptcy because there is a statutory lien automatically attaching to that 30,000 from the moment the case is over and before he filed the lien in court, and has set an adversary proceeding up. He says because of the NY statutory lien laws, I can not keep the money? Is this true?
Expert:  Ellen replied 7 years ago.
Hello,

I misunderstood your question. Thank you for the clarification.

To clarify, your attorney went to court and obtained a lien after you filed the bankruptcy petition. He did this without permission of the bankruptcy court.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
He did it a day or 2 later. I have no idea, but i do not think he asked permission?
Expert:  Ellen replied 7 years ago.
Hello,

If he requested permission it would have been in the form of a "Motion for Relief from Stay". You would have had to be noticed with the motion.

You have grounds to set aside any action that was taken after the bankruptcy petition was filed as it would be a violation of the automatic stay of the bankruptcy court. You will need to retain an bankruptcy litigation attorney to represent you in the adversary.

I hope that this helps.
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